Delaware County Board of Elections Director Karla Herron shared her concerns over the new voting equipment with members of the board on Tuesday. The issues could force the board to go with plan B for the upcoming May 7 primary election.
“At this point, I’m concerned with the limitations, and where we’re at this time,” she told the board. “All of these issues just came about this week.”
In her report, Herron said everything is moving forward, and the staff has received training on the software for the tabulation machine, but there was no acceptance checklist or paperwork that was to be provided by the vendor.
“As for the equipment, we haven’t seen any significant issues with it,” she said. “We’re at square one as far as the acceptance testing.”
Herron added there have been a couple of problems in the transition from the old system to the new system.
“We had some static problems, but those have been worked out,” she said. However, the staff has found that “they can not do bold or enlarged font sizes which are required by the state. We have a numbering issue for importing our data. They’re not really matching up with our (old) system at this point, and there’s no place in the programming for inputting the secretary of state’s ID.”
Deputy Director Anthony Saadey said they seem to be stuck with one font size on the screens but not on the paper printouts, which show different font sizes and bolded sections. He thinks the issue with the touchscreens might require software upgrades to fix the problem.
“It does meet the requirement on the paper ballot,” he said. “It does not meet it on the ballot marking device.”
Herron told the board that the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office has told them to work with the vendor to solve the programming problems.
“The Secretary of State’s Office is not allowing workarounds,” she said. “They told us we need to push back on the vendor.”
Herron said according to the manufacturer, Unisyn Voting Solutions, it is unable to make the changes because there is no field in the software to input the information.
However, Herron said she was told software upgrades come from the vendor, RBM Consulting, LLC, and not Unisyn.
“We had a conference call with them,” she said. “We gave them our list.”
Board member Steve Cuckler said he wasn’t surprised by the issues, because it’s all very complicated.
“It doesn’t surprise me that there are some hiccups,” he said. “We need to get them around one table, so they are all speaking the same language.”
Cuckler added the county hasn’t signed a contract nor paid for the machines.
“We won’t cut a check, and we’ll use our old machines until we get all the (problems) fixed,” he said. “That’s how I look at it. We still have the old system. I know that it will be hard and there will be issues, but we have a plan B.”
However, according to Cuckler, 12 counties plan to adopt the Unisyn Voting Solutions OpenElect system.
Herron turned to Shawn Stevens, a member of the Delaware County Board of Elections and also a member of the State Board of Voting Machine Examiners.
Stevens said the state board’s lab tested all the equipment to make sure it passed all the of the state requirements before being certified by the board of examiners. He said the Unisyn system was one of the six systems certified.
Stevens added the problem with the touchscreens was one of the items the state board’s lab should have tested before it certified the equipment.
“The lab gives us a report saying they are in compliance,” he said. “They should have certified that.”
Herron said she looked over the state’s requirement form and being able to bold and change font sizes are clearly on the list.
“So, either they tested and it was on there, or they said it complies and it didn’t comply,” Stevens said.
Herron said she and Saadey have reached out to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, RBM Consulting, and Unison to get the issues worked out.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.